Work and Pensions
Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of pensioners living in poverty in (a) Coventry, (b) Coventry North East constituency, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last five years; and what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle pensioner poverty.
Steve Webb (Minister of State (Pensions), Work and Pensions; Thornbury and Yate, Liberal Democrat)
Estimates of pensioner poverty are published in the Households Below Average Income series. The most commonly used measure of pensioner poverty relates to those people with income below 60% of contemporary median income, after housing costs. This is often referred to as relative poverty.
The smallest geographical breakdown available for the overall numbers in poverty is at Government office region level. Therefore, information is not available for (a) the city of Coventry or (b) Coventry North East constituency, but is available for (c) the West Midlands Government Office Region and (d) England.
Three-year averages are used to report regional statistics as single-year estimates are subject to volatility.
The latest year of data which are available is 2010-11. The following table shows the number of pensioners living in households in the west midlands and England with income below 60% of contemporary median income, after housing costs, for three-year periods spanning 2006-07 to 2010-11, which is the latest year for which data are available.
|Number of pensioners in the west midlands and England in relative low income, after housing costs|
|Three year period||Number of pensioners living with income below 60% of contemporary median, after housing costs (million)|
|2006-07 to 2008-09||0.2||1.7|
|2007-08 to 2009-10||0.2||1.6|
|2008-09 to 2010-11||0.2||1.5|
|Notes: 1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data sourced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. 2. Longer time series and before housing costs data on pensioners is available within chapter 6 of the Households Below Average Income report at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai_arc 3. Net disposable incomes have been used to answer the question. This includes earnings from employment and self-employment, state support, income from occupational and private pensions, investment income and other sources. Income tax, payments, national insurance contributions, council tax/domestic rates and some other payments are deducted from incomes. 4. Figures have been presented on an after housing cost basis. For after housing costs, housing costs are deducted from income. 5. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to a degree of uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 6. The reference period for HBAI figures is the financial year. 7. Numbers of pensioners have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand pensioners.|
The Government want all pensioners to have a decent and secure income in retirement. We have restored the earnings link for the basic state pension and given a triple guarantee that the basic state pension will increase by the highest of the growth in average earnings, price increases (as measured by the consumer prices index) or 2.5%. As a result, we estimate that an average person retiring in 2012-13 will receive £15,000 more in basic state pension income over their retirement than under the old prices link.
We are protecting support for older people such as:
winter fuel payments;
free bus passes;
free television licences for those aged 75 and over;
free eye tests; and
free NHS prescription charges.
We have permanently increased the cold weather payment from £8.50 to £25.
The Government are also introducing automatic enrolment into workplace pensions. Starting from 2012 all employers beginning with the largest will be required to enrol all workers eligible for automatic enrolment into a qualifying workplace pension scheme and make a minimum contribution. This is a central element of our strategy to reinvigorate private pension saving and aims to harness inertia and bring about a change in peoples' behaviour in saving for retirement. We expect this to lead to between five million and eight million people newly saving or saving more in all forms of workplace pension schemes. Along with our proposals for reform to the state pension, this is a key element in our strategy to prevent pensioner poverty from arising for future generations.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget, on